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VA Wildfire Monitoring

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#1
The Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area Wildfire (Amherst & Nelson Counties, VA) has now grown to 5,000+ acres as of Wednesday night, and is 0% contained. This is part of the Washington and Jefferson National Forests.

A helibase has been established on US Highway 60, in the Forks of Buffalo community, across from the VDoT compound.

As of 11:00 EST on Thursday, five possibly six helos were working the fire doing water drops. Several more helos arrived this morning.

Most active frequencies so far are:
USFS Flight Following..........168.6500
USFS Region-5 TAC..............169.1875
NIFC ALL CALL..................163.1000


Virginia Division of Forestry (VDF) is also involved, with their comm traffic being on the STARS system, “RED3” (TGID 3035) which was being referred as ‘C3’, and on conventional frequency DoF-1 (151.47500 MHz) simplex.
 
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tglendye

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#3
Thanks for the good information and pictures. On the Flight Following channel, I had entered (from the database) 168.6500 with ctcss 110.9. Do you know if this PL is good, or should I just keep it in search mode?
 
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#9
The Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area Wildfire (Amherst & Nelson Counties, VA) has now grown to 5,000+ acres as of Wednesday night, and is 0% contained. This is part of the Washington and Jefferson National Forests.

Most active frequencies so far are:
USFS Flight Following..........168.6500
USFS Region-5 TAC..............169.1875
NIFC ALL CALL..................163.1000
The second frequency, which you have labeled "USFS Region 5 TAC" is mislabeled. The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are in the U.S. Forest Service's Southern Region, Region 8. My own records do not show this frequency, although my information for the eastern part of the country is pretty thin. Region 5 of the USFS, the Pacific Southwest Region, with minor exceptions, covers California. 169.1875 is not one of the three USFS Region 5 tacs. 166.5625 is shown on some channel plans as "Regions 8/9 Fire." Now the area these national forests are in are within Region 5 of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, however, 168.7375 was shown as "R5 Fire" on a channel plan for a USFWS radio I used last spring when I visited a National Wildlife Refuge that was doing a prescribed fire. Now being in the area covered by Region 5 of the USFWS does not really matter as the USFWS does not manage the national forests. This unless the Southern Geographical Area Coordination Center (GACC) (Atlanta) assigned a USFWS frequency for use on this fire. All wildland fire management/suppression agencies and departments at the federal, state and local levels are tied in with the GACC's and NIFC (National Interagency Fire Center - Boise, ID). As such all agencies pool their resources for mutual aid and radio frequencies are considered resources.

So I have a question, where did you get the information about this frequency? It is obviously not a USFS Region 5 tactical, is not listed on the limited info I have for Forest Service regions 8 & 9 and was not listed in early 2016 as a USFWS Region 5 frequency.

The "NIFC All Call" is actually one of 5 federal government wide nationwide intinent freqs. It is usually used for a "deck" channel for air tanker bases and a approach/departure-deck channel for large fire helibases. 163.1000 and 168.3500 have been federal government all call freqs for decades. In 2005, when the federal government went to narrowband 163.7125, 168.6125, 167.1375 and 173.6250 were added as new all federal agency, nationwide, itinerent freqs. The new four are used for "intra crew logistic freqs" by hotshot crews, which there maybe one or two of on some of the fires burning back east right now.

The member who questioned the tone for the Flight Following frequency. This is more accurately labeled "National Flight Following." When that assignment was made some years back 110.9 was required for both transmit and receive. After a number of years of requiring 110.9 on the transmit side of "National Air Guard," 168.6250, the tone (national tone 1) is now required on the receive side of all radios.

Those of you in the east don't see that many large fires and don't follow the developments in wildland fire radio communications like we do in the west where large fires happen a lot. There is a wiki article on the "National Incident Radio Support Cache." It was written by a guy who quit his membership here and I've recently done a few edits on it after getting my hands on some comm plans from various fires around the country. I'm a retired fire dog from the National Park Service.

Here is a link to the article

National Incident Radio Support Cache - The RadioReference Wiki
 
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#10
First of all, Kendrick10423 ...Thank You very much for the fill on the information. It is greatly appreciated.

My farm is adjacent to the Washington National Forest, and can see out my back door cars driving past on the Blue Ridge Parkway that passes through the forest in my area. Therefore I have a very keen interest in comms related to any threat of wildfire.

Alas, I am still somewhat of a newbie with wildfire comms, and am taking this fire as a leaning exercise.

<snip>

So I have a question, where did you get the information about this frequency? It is obviously not a USFS Region 5 tactical, is not listed on the limited info I have for Forest Service regions 8 & 9 and was not listed in early 2016 as a USFWS Region 5 frequency.

<snip>
[/url]
This was seen a couple of years ago on a printout of frequencies for a USFS radio someone showed me in my area. It was titled " REG5 TAC ", with 169.1875 MHz narrowband FM, carrier squelch for settings. At the time, I did not know anything about the various USFS regions, and simply assumed it was a USFS frequency for my local area.

I have had this loaded into my radio for over two years, but this is the first occasion I have heard any traffic on the frequency.

Any and all comments / feedback greatly appreciated.
 
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#11
First of all, Kendrick10423 ...Thank You very much for the fill on the information. It is greatly appreciated.

My farm is adjacent to the Washington National Forest, and can see out my back door cars driving past on the Blue Ridge Parkway that passes through the forest in my area. Therefore I have a very keen interest in comms related to any threat of wildfire.

Alas, I am still somewhat of a newbie with wildfire comms, and am taking this fire as a leaning exercise.



This was seen a couple of years ago on a printout of frequencies for a USFS radio someone showed me in my area. It was titled " REG5 TAC ", with 169.1875 MHz narrowband FM, carrier squelch for settings. At the time, I did not know anything about the various USFS regions, and simply assumed it was a USFS frequency for my local area.

I have had this loaded into my radio for over two years, but this is the first occasion I have heard any traffic on the frequency.

Any and all comments / feedback greatly appreciated.
This is a guide to the USFS regions and list of forests in each region

http://www.fs.fed.us/maps/products/guide-national-forests09.pdf

Here is a more detailed map of the regions and the forests in each region

http://data.fs.usda.gov/geodata/other_fs/docs/guide_to_national_forests_20060117.pdf

Now a map of National Park regions

https://www.nps.gov/hfc/carto/PDF/NPSmap7.pdf

This is a map of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regions

https://www.fws.gov/ecological-services/about/contacts-new.html

I'm a public land nerd after a career with the NPS. I did not collect frequency information during my career and wasn't really interested in radio until I retired a little over a year ago after moving back home to Arizona. We were in a rental where the landlord left a scanner and it started then. We just moved into our own home and outside antennas and a ham license are in the plan, but I have a lot of interior finishing and moving in to do. A couple of friends/former coworkers have sent me some channel plans and comm plans from incident action plans. I've got good info from Calif., but elsewhere is hit or miss.

I swore that I would not follow fire and move on to new things, but fire is kinda hard to give up completely. "Wife rolls eyes at this point." The "57 dog" bit me last year. It is the mandatory retirement for firefighters in the federal government. You can't move into non LE/Fire jobs at 57 and can't move into another agency that has no emergency service mission, you get kicked out of the federal government to never return.

So we chalk up 169.1875 as a mystery at this point. The label of "R5 Tac" does not apply to the USFS. It might be a typo or it applies to the USFWS.
 
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#13
kb4cvn;2671540 This was seen a couple of years ago on a printout of frequencies for a USFS radio someone showed me in my area. It was titled " [B said:
REG5 TAC[/B] ", with 169.1875 MHz narrowband FM, carrier squelch for settings. At the time, I did not know anything about the various USFS regions, and simply assumed it was a USFS frequency for my local area.

I have had this loaded into my radio for over two years, but this is the first occasion I have heard any traffic on the frequency.

Any and all comments / feedback greatly appreciated.
It's probably the Virginia Dept of Forestry's region 5 it's referring to in this case.
 

SCPD

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#14
It's probably the Virginia Dept of Forestry's region 5 it's referring to in this case.
It's a federal frequency so the state has no jurisdiction to label it. I know that states are assigned a few frequencies in what is otherwise the federal band, but this one does not look familiar. I learned this on a fire I was on in the east when I saw a 172 something frequency on a state incident. Somebody gave me a list of these frequencies, but we've moved twice since I retired fall 2015 so I'll be darned if I can find it. We finally moved into our house six weeks ago, our first as we've lived in park housing for 30+ years.
 
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